A Minor Complication, Pt. 1

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14 Mar 2019 09:00 #293804 by AndrewMcAlpine
1.
We text Anatoly, telling him we need his silver tongue...

On Blades in the Dark and the surprising joy of failure.

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14 Mar 2019 11:05 #293805 by JonathanVolk
This is great, and of course I kept muttering words aloud in my Anatoly voice while I read it.

It makes me think of how when I run a D&D “lite” writing game with middle schoolers in the summer, my number one constraint is that their character has to be terrifyingly bad at at least ONE thing. It’s always fascinating to see which students feel overjoyed to explore the depths of failure that this constraint can lead to, and which ones feel as if I am punishing them.

I think these reactions to failure might have something to do with the great potential games and play have for preparing us more broadly for how we engage the world beyond the table. When we fail, we have to turn beyond ourselves to others for help, for commiseration in our suffering. Success and power isolates. The failures in my D&D classes are, broadly speaking, usually the ones who succeed best at noticing and reaching out to others.
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14 Mar 2019 11:18 #293807 by hotseatgames
Great review, and it's given me a lot to think about for the game I'm designing right now. Thanks!

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14 Mar 2019 15:01 #293834 by GorillaGrody
Great write up, great game!

I will say it until the Tarrasque awakens from its slumber: D and D is a great board game system with great opportunities for talking. It’s not a very good “Theater of the Mind” system. This is especially true of 5e, where they fleshed out point-to-point movement to the level that it was usable, but didn’t love it to death with lots of fiddly rules as in 4e or 3e.

I mean, some DMs can make 5e a good “TOTM” experience, but it’s roughly analogous to what Edward Tufte said about PowerPoint: it doesn’t get in the way of the very best speakers, and it nominally helps the very worst, but for the 80 per cent in the middle, the operating system takes over and drags the experience down to its level of jank.

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